We wanted to escape the heat of Tucson summer, so we rented a cabin on Mt Lemmon. It was an older cabin – homey and very comfortable. We were on a paved road that led down to the village of Summerhaven, but we couldn’t see the village from our front porch. So we felt like we were really in the wilderness, kind of. It was between a ¼ and ½ mile into the village, a nice walk that we did several times a day. Going in the other direction from our cabin, the road passed 5 or 6 other cabins and then the paving ended and a nice wide trail went on from there. I think the trail probably led up to the summit and the ski area.
We took our dog, Hobbes, with us. He didn’t seem to relax much when we were inside (he is kind of a home body and he missed his own home), but he loved being outdoors and the roads and wide paths worked well for him. Our cabin was on a hill, so we had to climb a flight of stairs to get to it. Hobbes wouldn’t or couldn’t go up the stairs, so we experimented with different routes up the hill to the house. We finally found the easiest one for him, which involved some climbing over rocks but it was probably good for him to get that kind of exercise.
While our cabin was older and really very cabin-like, there were some newer and larger homes on our road. These buildings really stretch the definition of ”cabin.” Some of these newer ones were huge 2 or 3 story buildings with multiple windows and balconies – they looked more like mansions that just happened to be situated in the forest. I think the new “cabins” had all been built after the 2003 Aspen fire that burned so much of Summerhaven. It was pretty easy to identify the cabins that had survived the fire, like the one we stayed in, and the ones that were built in replacement. It was nice to stay in one of the older ones.
We got the cold temperatures that we were seeking. It was cold and rainy the first night we were there. We even had to turn on the heater. It rained a little more the next morning and then the sun came out. There had been a lot of rain on the mountain this summer, so everything was very green and the fire danger was very low. There were wildflowers everywhere, which was such a pleasant surprise for me.
My brother drove over from Albuquerque to join us. So that made everything perfect. We didn’t do a lot – just talked, explored, ate, read and slept. I think we were all in bed by 8:30 the first night. It was so great just to be there and not have anything we had to do, but sit on our lovely porch, smell the fresh forest air and relax.